Which Red Light Therapy Devices Are The Best?
I recently wrote a post about red light therapy that breaks down the science and research behind this exciting natural health intervention, with a special focus on what a good device can do for women’s health issues. That was more of an introduction to red light therapy for those who aren’t familiar. Now, in this post, I’m going to go deeper on the different in-home light therapy brands you can choose from.
Make sure to check out our article on Red Light Therapy 101 for Moms. Please keep in mind that specs and info provided is what was available to us at the time of writing this articles. Companies of course may have changed and upgraded materials. As things are constantly changing it’s always best to look up the most current information and for any changes/upgrades. We may not be able to/have time to update such changes in this article.
Disclosure: We were not compensated for this article.
If you’re ready to give red light therapy a try, but not sure which device is best for you and your health needs, I’m sharing what we have learned and discovered. This is not an all-encompassing review on all machines out there, just the ones we’ve had the chance to research. As always everyone needs to decide for themselves and I always suggest doing your own research wherever possible. I’ll give a breakdown of the leading light therapy brands and which factors to think about when choosing your own device. Then I’ll share my red light recommendation and discuss my own experiences with my light therapy device.
When I was new to the world of red light therapy, I had a lot of questions. I wish someone would have broken down the basics and told me what to look for in a quality device. So that’s what I’m going to do for you!
Some brands like Joovv, GembaRed, Platinum LED Therapy, and Red Therapy Co. sell LED-panel devices that set up in your home. Others like LightStim, Trophy Skin, and QuasarMD sell much smaller devices intended for handheld use on a person’s face. Celluma makes a wearable wrap. Other brands offer light therapy beds, kind of like tanning beds. There’s a lot to sort out! So let’s start by looking at the most important factors that go into successful red light therapy treatments.
Important Things to Look for in a Light Therapy Device
Red light therapy is backed by a big base of clinical research and has been shown to be safe and effective in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies. But which type of device can deliver the goods for you? These are the most important things to think about when buying a light therapy device.
- Power and Independent Verification.
More Power Means Short Treatments. The more powerful a device, the less time you’ll have to stand or sit in front of it. Treatment sessions for full-body devices are around ten to fifteen minutes. That’s about all I can spare anyway. Once I got into the routine of daily treatments though, I started to really like it. There’s no heat produced by quality machines, but being bathed in powerful and natural light feels really therapeutic.
TOTAL ENERGY is the stat to look for. Power is usually measured in irradiance or joules, but that number alone won’t tell you what you need to know. Total energy is the most important and it tells you how much energy your body can actually absorb.
You’re going to see a lot of light therapy brands make big claims about the power of their devices. Make sure they can back that up with independent testing, trials and FDA clearance. You can trust an independent diagnostics laboratory over the claims of an advertisement at the top of your search results.
Most of the cheap, small devices you come across have NOT been tested independently, so you can’t trust the numbers they throw at you. Even worse, most of these little devices aren’t even clinical red light therapy devices! And they haven’t been registered with the FDA! What that means is that they don’t have to follow Good Manufacturing Practices. That’s even more of a reason to not trust their unverified power measurements.
If you remember one thing, remember this: look for power measurements from independent tests. Independent tests mean the company made a quality product and paid an outside laboratory to test their claims. If they don’t have independent measurements, it’s a really bad sign, and you just don’t know what you’re going to get when you buy.
The More Coverage You Can Get with a Bigger Device, The Better
When it comes to getting the best results from a light therapy device, all I can say is GO BIG! Size is the most important aspect. Medical professionals and independent testing labs both say that a bigger “full-body” device is more powerful and effective than a small one that only targets a tiny part of your body.
Even if you only want to treat one specific part of your body—like your face for clearer skin or your scalp for thicker hair—you will get better results with a bigger device. Energy created by your cells after they take in natural light is used all over your body. So if you take in the maximum amount of light, your cells are going to work harder everywhere.
The more your cells are exposed to light from a bigger device, the more energy your cells can produce, and you will see more health benefits. You’ll get better coverage from a bigger device. And better coverage means more energy for your body. And more energy means the best possible health results.
The Common Size Problem with a lot of Light Therapy Devices
Most light therapy devices are too small or don’t deliver enough power for a truly impactful treatment. And what’s the point of owning one if it’s too small or underpowered to give you any of the health benefits? That said, it is possible to get good results from targeted treatments if you use a powerful enough device, which I’ll explain below.
LightStim and QuasarMD both make handheld devices that offer small, targeted therapies with limited power. They likely won’t be able to give you the health benefits you’re looking for. Because they’re so small, you’re supposed to move the device around your face to cover the full area. But to really get good effects, you’d have to do it for a really long time. Moms don’t have time!
Trophy Skin makes a device that looks like a small curved lamp. And Red Light Man makes small light therapy boxes and lamps. Both companies are on the cheaper end of devices and can’t offer full coverage or enough power.
Celluma takes a different approach, making light therapy belts and bands that wrap around your body. This wearable device might get you some style points, but it won’t get you the health benefits of a full-coverage device.
All these small and under-powered devices aren’t very effective. That’s why they’re on the cheaper end. But not all smaller devices are so weak.
Handheld light therapy products can be beneficial for targeted treatments for skin and painful joints, but the device has to pack some serious clinical power. That’s why I like the Joovv Go, the most effective (and cost-effective) handheld device available. You can get the Joovv Go in red or near infrared light, depending on your needs (red is ideal for skin and surface treatments, while near infrared is better for pain relief because it reaches deeper into soft tissue).
Bigger Devices For In-Home Use
There are a lot of brands that offer larger devices for in-home light therapy. They mostly use LED devices for concentrated natural light. Some of the brands include Joovv’s line of full-body products, as well as GembaRed, Platinum LED, TrueLight by TrueDark, and Red Therapy Co. (makers of the RedRush products). Even in this larger, in-home device group, there are many different approaches.
Let’s talk about some of these different brands.
Joovv doesn’t just have the Go for handheld and portable use. They also offer 7 different sizes of devices, and most of them have a “modular design,” which means you can link them together easily and build out a bigger device to best suit your needs. I previously reviewed Joovv devices and their health benefits, if you want to know more about this leading light therapy brand. The Joovv Mini and Solo start at $695 and $1,195, respectively. And their least expensive full-body device is the Joovv Max, which retails for $2,995. Joovv devices can adapt and change with you as you find the right light therapy experience for your health needs. All the other brands have a “one and done” style. We’ll get into that in a bit.
TrueDark makes those blue-light-blocking sunglasses you see in checkout lanes. They started making lower-power light therapy panels under the brand TrueLight. Their “Energy Square’ is a single panel and sells for $389. They also make an “Energy Pillow” ($479) and an “Energy Mat” ($1,200) that you lie on. The size of these products is good but the mat and pillow setup doesn’t have enough power. Really, none of TrueLight’s devices have enough power to adequately cover your body like Joovv and Platinum LED.
Let’s talk Platinum LED. They also made a range of panel lights in different sizes, but unlike the Joovv devices, they don’t go together and you can’t build out a bigger system. As of now, Platinum LED is not even registered with the FDA and they don’t follow Good Manufacturing Practices. Big strike against them in my book. If that doesn’t set off some alarms, a lot of health-conscious consumers have avoided Platinum LED because they don’t have many user reviews or professional endorsements. And the company is mostly known for making grow lights for plants.
Another brand that makes square panels is GembaRed. They sell a bargain 12” x 12” panel for $379. Red Therapy Co. has a single panel device for just under $800 as well. However, if you look at the specs it appears they are pretty limited with what you can do.
Why is there such a big difference in pricing between the brands that make single panels? The simple answer is quality and effectiveness. The GembaRed Rex is made of plastic. Joovv and RedRush devices are made with sturdy metal. Joovv and RedRush devices also have internal fans where GembaRed Rex has no way to cool down.
While RedRush is made of sturdy material, it’s missing the power, energy, and modular functionality of Joovv. The devices look so similar you might even call RedRush products imitations or knock offs of Joovv. If RedRush delivered the same benefits, it would be harder to be critical of the brand. But, according to independent testing, the RedRush devices deliver way less power than they advertise. In other words, their products don’t support their claims. That’s not a good look!
I Choose Joovv for the Most Effective Red Light Therapy
I read up on all the major light therapy devices, and after trying several of them out, I have to say that Joovv is the top brand. Joovv is the industry standard for in-home light therapy. They offer larger devices with LEDs that just works a lot better than the small handheld wands and wearable bands. And based on the data from independent test labs, it’s the most powerful red light therapy on the market.
I also really love the versatility of Joovv’s modular design, which you’re not getting with any other brand. My Joovv Mini is modular, so I can add to it for more power and coverage.
Yes, Joovv devices cost more than the weaker alternatives. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. Joovvs are sturdy, well-built devices with high-quality LED diodes. You’re not going to get this quality with the cheaper devices pushed out by RedRush and Platinum LED.
These are my big reasons you should get a Joovv if you’re thinking about red light therapy in your home:
Size and Power: Joovvs are bigger and offer the most coverage compared to any other device on the market. You’re going to get a more effective treatment with a Joovv. Joovv is registered with the FDA, follows Good Manufacturing Procedures, and is backed up by independent laboratory testing.
Room to Grow: You don’t have to go all in right away with Joovv. Because of the modular design, you can start with one panel and work your way up. They even have financing plans that will save you money as you add panels. You’re not going to get nickel and dimed with Joovv.
Professionals Swear by Joovv: Joovv is used by tons of pro athletes & trainers and natural health & skincare professionals. Not that their word is enough to make a product worthwhile, but I think it says something that Joovv is trusted by thought leaders and people at the top of their game all around the world.
Customer Service Specialty: If you have a problem with your device, they are going to do right by you. No questions asked. Their support team is knowledgeable, friendly, and very helpful.